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Middle East Issues





Arab Building in Jerusalem


1967-1997

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This study documents the extensive housing construction and population growth in Arab neighborhoods of the city. Authored by former Jerusalem city planner Israel Kimhi, Arab Building in Jerusalem: 1967-1997 finds that Arab home construction has actually outpaced Jewish building since Israel unified the city in 1967. Aerial photographs comparing neighborhoods in 1968 and 1995 dramatically underscore the statistical evidence.

Monograph Highlights

Jerusalem's Arab population has grown faster than its Jewish population

Since reunification of the city in 1967 Jerusalem's Arab population, far from dwindling, has increased faster than its Jewish population, with 163.4% growth by the Arabs and just 113.6% growth by the Jews. It follows that rather than being "Judaized," Jerusalem is actually less Jewish today than it was in 1967. Indeed, the Arab population of Jerusalem and its environs has increased more rapidly over the past 30 years under Israeli rule than during any other period in the 20th century.

• Arab building in Jerusalem has outpaced Jewish building

Municipal tax records show that since 1967 the number of Arab-owned residences in the city has grown at a faster rate than the number of Jewish-owned residences. Aerial photographs taken of the same areas in 1968 and 1995 corroborate this expansion and disprove assertions that Israel has prevented Arabs from building in the city.

• Building permits have been issued to Arabs at a rate similar to that for a comparable Jewish sector

As with population increases and residential construction, so with the issuance of building permits. In the 1974-1995 period Jerusalem's Arab community received building permits for more square meters of residential construction than did the demographically similar (in terms of population and family size) Jewish ultra-Orthodox community.

• Municipality efforts to implement a coherent city plan have been misrepresented

Legitimate difficulties encountered by the municipal government of Jerusalem in attempting to implement a coherent city plan benefiting all residents have been interpreted as a politically motivated policy intended to prevent Arab construction.


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